Updated: February 22, 2013

By Gary Norris Gray

This past week events in Pretoria, South Africa has hit the disabled community very hard. One of their coveted heroes might have done the unthinkable and have taken another human’s life.

Mr. Pistorius defied the odds and competed against able-bodied runners in the London Summer Games, a dream disabled athletes want to make reality.

Oscar Pistorius sat in a South African jail cell after he allegedly shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkemp on Valentine’s Day. The events are still sketchy at best but many believe it was a case of athletic steroid rage. The South African police have made many mistakes, losing track of spent ammunition, the different testimony of the police and Pistorius accounts of the incident, and missing evidence.

Pistorius still is seeking bail as South African law is very different then American law. South African justice is not on the side of the countries female population.  Very few men ever get charged with abuse, rape, or murder. One of the police chief investigators Hilton Botha had to recues himself from the case because of a previous murder case in 2010. This high profile case might drag on for years.

The Pistorius case continues to get intriguing and everybody trying to find answers. In the meantime The Nike Corporation, Oscar’s main supporter has severed all ties with the Pistorius camp sighting Oscar should be afforded the legal due process and that the company would monitor the status of the case each week.

Friday February 22 Oscar was released from jail. He had to give up his passport and cannot leave the city of Pretoria without the permission of his parole officer.

When this case is completed we will have lost a true hero, a true competitor, and a beacon for other disabled athletes throughout the world.

This story was written last year August 8, 2012.

The Para-Olympics will begin September 7 but three disabled athletes took the London stage early participating in the Non-Disabled Games in August.

One day disabled and non disabled will compete together in the Summer Games classic. Until then the fight will continue just as women and African Americans had to fight to wave their countries flag at the games.

One story of victory is Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius born November 22, 1986 with Fibular Hemimelia. It has not stopped this young man from playing all sports.

The South African doctors had to amputate both legs below the knees when Oscar was just 11 months old. Oscar Pistorius made history in London this August 2012.

Pistorius was not only running for his country, South Africa, nor running for himself, he was running for the millions of disenfranchised disabled athletes around the world. Disabled athletes who just want to compete in the world of sports.

Pistorius came in 2nd place in his prelimary heat qualifying him to run the 400 meter race. At that moment he became the first double amputee to run in any Olympic race no matter where he placed in the finals.

Oscar played rugby, water polo, tennis, and Olympic wrestling until a serious knee injury sidelined him and almost ending his sports career. His high school rugby coach told him to run on the school’s track to get back in shape but his coach had ulterior motives. The Coach could see his running abilities because of the rugby practices but never told Pistorius.

All of his young life Oscar competed against able-bodied males and it never occurred to him that he was disabled. In 2004 he competed against other disabled athletes. This was so foreign to him that he could not concentrate almost missed the start in Athens, Greece in the 2004 games. He was amazed at all of the different disabilities on the field.

He would enter college at the University of Pretoria studying business commerce management in 2006. With all of the demands of training Oscar wondered if he would ever graduate. With all of the determination to get back on the rugby field kept him going. His high school coach finally told Oscar what he had in mind and Pistorius has never left the track. He roughhoused just like the other young men but his world changed forever in 2006 when the Olympic Committee barred him from the 2008 Beijing Games.

He took that pent-up energy to the Paralympics Games in Beijing and won three gold medals

The Committee stated that the steel legs called “Cheetahs” the actual name is the “Cheetah Flex Foot”, were an unfair advantage and banned him from the games. This J shape carbon fiber prosthetics motored Oscar around the field. The Committee did not take into account that it was the man moving the steel legs not the steel moving the man. The Committee stated that it was a mechanical devise (where have we heard this before) and that Pistorius was lighter in weight because his human legs were not there. The committee did not take into account that at the starting blocks able-bodied athletes had the advantage when their legs and feet could push off of the starting blocks and the Cheetahs could not assert that same power off of the blocks. This gave non-disabled athlete a driving difference at the starting block.

Pistorius took his case to (CAS) Court of Arbitration for Sports in Lausanne, Switzerland in April 2008. The CAS panel unanimously determined that Dr. BrÃggemann only tested Pistorius’s biomechanics at full-speed when he was running in a straight line (unlike a real 400-metre race), that the report did not consider the disadvantages that Pistorius suffers at the start and acceleration phases of the race, and that overall there was no evidence that he had any net advantage over able-bodied athletes. In response to the announcement, Pistorius said: “My focus throughout this appeal has been to ensure that disabled athletes be given the chance to compete and compete fairly with able-bodied athletes. I look forward to continuing my quest to qualify for the Olympics”.

The (IAAF) International Association of Athletes Federations and the South African Olympic Committee were in a pitched battle to qualify Pistorius for the Beijing Games. Nothing worked. The (SAOC) South African Olympic Committee wanted Pistorius to run the 4X400 relay. The IAAF stated it would be a danger for other athletes if he ran in the middle of the pack and fell.

It all became a moot point because he failed to qualify for the Beijing games by 0.70 seconds in the 400 meter race. He could still be picked as a wild card for 4X400 relays but the South African Committee dropped the case and concentrated on the London Games 2012.

Pistorius became the first disabled amputee to run in the World Championship Games in Daegu, Korea in August 2011. He participated in the 400 meters and the 4X400 relays. The South African relay team won their qualification round with Pistorius running the lead lap. The running time also qualified him for the London Games and the IAAF could not stop history.

Oscar Pistorius is doing what he loves to do, compete, His sporting motto is: “You’re not disabled by the disabilities you have, you are able by the abilities you have.”

History can be cruel sometimes and fighting is the only avenue some people have to achieve their goal


Gary Norris Gray – Writer, Author, Historian. Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston Mass. THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove on Disabled Community Activist. Email at

©Copyrighted Gary Norris Gray @ Gray Leopard Prod

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